Implementing CRM? Think Process Before Software.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Mike Calvo, head of marketing and business development at Logicbox Software, Inc.
Business Growth MAP Alliance, July 19, 2017

The better a business can manage relationships with its customers, the more successful it will be. While most businesses rely on spreadsheets for storing customer data, this method can be unreliable. Spreadsheets get lost, become outdated or fall into the wrong hands. That’s where customer relationship management, or CRM, comes in.

A CRM system can help you register your leads and contacts, track customer interactions and get everyone working within the company on the same page. Mike Calvo, head of marketing and business development at Logicbox Software, told attendees at the July MAP Alliance forum how CRM can help a business recognize the value of its customers and capitalize on their needs.

“CRM means different things to different people,” Calvo said. “But at the end of the day, it’s about maintaining customer relationships.” When thinking about investing in a CRM system, Calvo offers three tips:

1. Identify your process first.

“When it comes to choosing a CRM, think process first, then software,” Calvo said. Many companies fail in selecting the right CRM system because they expect the CRM to dictate their process, when in fact it is the other way around. Your process should tell you what information you are collecting about your customers and why. By understanding your company process and what you hope to accomplish, you’ll be able to choose the right one for you. “CRM’s don’t fail,” Calvo said. “Implementation fails. This is usually due to a lack of process.”

2. Research which system is right for you.

Calvo stated that “60 percent of businesses don’t take full advantage of their CRM systems.” This is because they didn’t research which one would best meet their business needs. Every business is unique—so there is no one size fits all. There are more than 500 different CRM systems to choose from, most falling into three categories:

  • Off-the-shelf — existing systems with built-in functionality. This option meets a variety of CRM needs, costs less, and is a suitable choice for most small businesses.
  • Integrated Solutions — an existing system integrated to meet your specific company needs. Because these systems are personalized and require a third-party designer, they can cost more than the off-the-shelf option.
  • Custom — a tailored system customized and integrated with your existing software. These require third-party consulting, more time and money, and are often reserved for larger corporations.

3. Make it a team effort.

Management needs to be involved in determining company process and which CRM system will work best. But once a system is selected, employee training is imperative. Information is valuable to a company only if it is properly used. If you’re updating the information into the CRM system but your employees are not, then your data is useless. To make a difference, it must be universally adopted.

CRM is paramount in today’s expanding business world. “It’s never too late to start organizing your customers and contacts,” Calvo said. If you aren’t sure about your process or don’t have time to pick a system, hire a consultant. CRM is about organizing your business to build better relationships. The better the relationship, the easier it is to conduct business and generate revenue.

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